Updated: Oct 19, 2021
10 Skills Your Web Designer Must Have
You know you need to have a website, and you have determined the goal, the audience, the offering, the brief and the budget, but how do you go about choosing the best website designer for your project?
"Technology is driving the innovation. Technology is driving the creativity. Technology and the use of that is going to determine our workers' ability to compete in the 21st century global marketplace." Ron Kind
Today, our lives are lived at break-neck pace. We want and need everything now! If you want a pizza, you pick up your phone and open the pizza app, place your order and your pizza arrives 20 or 30 minutes later. If you need some groceries to replenish your larder, you go online and you order what you need, choose a delivery date and time and pay and then boom! The groceries are at your door. We can do all these things because our lives are fast-paced, but our lives are also closely knit together through the ether: we are connected.
Fifty years ago, lives were connected, but not by a cyber connection, it was a bricks and mortar connection through the “high street” stores, the schools and the churches. There was a village-feel to life. We lived in small communities glued together by location. Now, we are glued together through the ether and if you are a business that is not online, you are invisible.
The website is the shop window allowing the world to see your brand, your company, your employees and you. It is a shop that never sleeps, and if you are not online, you are nowhere.
You know you need a website, but how do you go about designing and implementing the website. Well, the easiest way is to get a website designer to do it for you and there are thousands of developers online or on freelancer sites that can do the job, but …
How do you choose a designer for your website designer?
Before you choose a designer for your website, there are a number of questions you should answer before you can carry out your due diligence on the prospect.
You need to develop your strategy, by answering five questions:
Why do I need a website?
Who is my website for?
What will my website showcase?
What must the designer do?
How much do I have to spend on my website?
As with any project or any new hire, you carry out due diligence. For a new project you look at the remit, the deadline, the team and the budget. When you are recruiting, you look at the history, the personality and the ability to communicate. The same is true when you are hiring a consultant, or a freelancer. You are making an investment and you want your return on investment to be positive.
You want to showcase your brand on the internet so you don’t lose the war and have to close your company. You really do not want to be left behind your competition, so you need to look for a designer who has certain attributes which will benefit you and your future business.
There are certain skills, hard skills, that go without saying a good web designer should possess. Skills such as HTML, colour theory, UI, UX and typography to name a few. Yet, there are the soft skills a web designer must have in order for them to work with you, listen to you and understand you to create your ideal website to showcase your brand.
Here are a list of ten skills every web designer should posses.
Soft skills are defined as the "personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people". Soft skills are basically the skills we are born with and we acquire through relationships with parents, siblings, friends, teachers, and so on. They are the relationship building skills which we use every day throughout our lives in order to live a harmonious, healthy and happy life.
“You cannot continuously improve interdependent systems and processes until you progressively perfect interdependent, interpersonal relationships. Stephen Covey
Communication is a necessity for practically every business professional, but it is of the utmost importance in a web designer as it allows the designer to understand the client's goals, as well as being able to convey their own thoughts and decisions in order to provide a successful project for the client.
Time management is one of those skills which can be misplaced or overlooked, but for a designer working to deadlines, this is of paramount importance. For example, the client wants a new website to go live to correspond to their product launch. The product launch has cost thousands of dollars, and is planned for a certain day. This cannot be changed without the client encurring additional, sometimes prohibitive, costs. The designer has to hit the date. The designer has to ensure this client and their other clients are all serviced correctly. It is a question of reputation for the designer to manage their time effectively.
The designer is working to develop a workable website that the client is happy with, but in life things do not always go smoothly. The designer has to be able to overcome problems in an expeditious manner with the minimum of fuss. They must be able to solve problems and be adept at coming up with solutions that lead to success of the project.
Whether the designer is a direct hire or a freelancer, being aware of deadlines is, as said earlier, of paramount importance, and as a result of that importance, being disciplined in their work ethic is vital for the success of their project. Keeping distractions to a minimum and utilising their time efficiently can ensure there are few, hopefully none, timely and costly last minute rushes.
It is relatively easy to mimic another company’s website UI and UX, but a lot more difficult to create a new design. The designer is paid to design, not copy, and as such they must dig deep in their creativity to provide the client with a website the client is truly proud of. A creative mind lends itself to memorable content and usability.
Websites can take a lot of time to develop and complete, and they often require numerous revisions, and regular modifications. The web designer has to understand how to start the project and how to bring the project to fruition, by keeping themselves aligned with the aims of the business throughout the design and implementation process.
The designer will have to work with the marketing team and develop a strategy on how to successfully integrate the website in any future marketing campaigns. They will also have to understand how to optimise the search ability of the site by using keywords, improving page load speeds, boost domain credibility and provide regular updates to rank the site more highly.
There is a saying that a salesman is only as good as his last sale. This is also true of the website designer. They are only as good as their last project, and the reputation of the last project depends on the designers 's ability to relate to the client and manage said client successfully. The client wants one thing, and sometimes those wants are impossible to achieve, which in turn requires the designer to adjust the wants and needs and create a product that outshines the client's imagination. Good communication and interpersonal skills assist the design in maintaining better-than-good client management and in turn can help the designer acquire added respect with future clients.
Web design involves many setbacks. Setbacks from client feedback, or making difficult design decisions can stir up many negative feelings and potential frustration. Patience makes it easier to work as a designer and ultimately makes working with a designer a less daunting experience.
Designing a website is generally not a single-person job. The designer may have to talk with other parties to acquire content, and/ or media for the finished site. The designer may also have to explain their vision of the website to lay-persons, which can create a strain if teamwork is not a prime attribute the designer possesses. It should be, as they will most likely have to interact with other departments to complete the client's vision.
"A designer knows he has achieved not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away". Antonie De-Saint Exupery
You want to showcase your brand, your products, your company, your employees and yourself, but without a website, it is nigh on impossible to showcase yourself in today’s interconnected world. You only have one choice and that is to design and develop a website through which you can show your wares to the world. Can you do it alone? Will you use a designer to help create for you? If you choose the latter, then don’t forget to look for a designer who is a team player, creative, disciplined, patient and a good communicator.
Don’t forget to look for a designer who is all of the above. They will make the design process a more pleasurable experience and you will get what you want, when you want it and in budget.
Accent on Training have been helping companies improve their social media presence and engagement through bespoke marketing strategies. If you need any information or assistance in designing your website, contact us for more information.
About the author
Jonathan Moore is the founder of Accent on Training, a Social Media Management, Brand design and website design agency based in Seoul, South Korea. For nearly ten years, he has helped clients in developing their businesses online, branding, website design, and bespoke social media marketing solutions.